Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WNBA Game Explained to NBA Fans

Someone named "Stop-n-Pop" on the Canis Hoopus blog - a blog devoted to the NBA Timberwolves - begins a blog post with:

"One of the big goals for this site over the summer is to build some interest in the women's game, specifically the Minnesota Lynx. It will never cease to amaze me that the women's professional game does not have a greater following."

The post is primarily directed to NBA fans and details the differences between the NBA game and the WNBA game. He speaks with Jim Petersen, television commentator and assistant coach for the Lynx:

"The women don't rely on dunking and the 3 pointer or backing people into the deep post," continues Petersen. "They are more true to the pass and cut game which is predicated on ball movement and player movement. So often in the NBA you'll see a point guard dribble to the sideline and run a pick and roll and that's it. In the women's game you'll see a ton of weakside action that is just as important as the initial strongside action and I'm amazed at how good the players are with this type of game."

I must admit that I used the post for a different purpose than it was written - since I don't watch the NBA, the post told me about how the NBA works as well.

"Continuity basketball means that there is not just a single option, or a quick hitter. There are 2nd and 3rd options built into the playsets and you just don't see that in the NBA all that much. In the NBA you'll see the defense broken down on a pass or two. In the WNBA they might not play the greatest defense at all times but you may have to get to a 2nd or 3rd option in order to score."

It's a great post, and it's worth a read.


Q McCall said...

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

One note about the continuity thing and the quality of NBA defenses -- in 1994 the NBA made it illegal to hand check (using a forearm to defend a player). Prior to that time, NBA defense was pretty good, especially teams like the Bad Boy Pistons and Knicks. I find it funny that the wording of the rule is as follows:

"A defender may momentarily touch an opponent with his hand anywhere on the court as long as it does not affect the opponent’s movement (speed, quickness, balance, rhythm)."

Realistically, there are players in the NBA who are so athletic and quick that they are simply unguardable without a handcheck. When people say that "opened up the game" it means essentially that the only chance defenders had was taken away. So that's a major reason why the NBA defense gets broken down so quickly.

pt said...

Q, I didn't know the rule about hand checking in the NBA. From cultural osmosis, I knew that the Pistons were a good defensive team and I wonder why teams like that disappeared. Now I know why.